Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Church of St. Peter or Galiot?

Church of St. Peter
Assier France
During a recent snail expedition (a story for another time), Ankie and I drove through the village of Assier. Located about 25 minutes northeast of Cadrieu, it's a well-laid out and attractive village of about 680 people. Its church is dedicated to St. Peter, but is actually more of a shrine to Assier's most famous son, Jacques Richard Genouillace called Galiot de Genouillac. Galiot de Genouillac served four different French kings, but is most noted for his service to Francois I. He was the King's armourer, supplying all the armaments for the Kings' army. Francois attributed his victory at Marignan in 1515 to Galiot who was well-rewarded (as most arms'dealers are). He amassed a great fortune...and a great ego! A brief exploration of the exterior of the village church proves this point.
If you examine the tympanum over the church doors, you can see Galiot's insignia being offered to the Virgin. The keystones bear his coat of arms. The angels on the door carry messages the read "Long Live Galiot!' If you look carefully at the first photo, you can detect a line going around the entire church at about the height of the doors. Looking more closely, you'll see this is no ordinary religious frieze full of saints and holy figures...
The entire frieze depicts the glories of Galiot...battles
swords supplied by Galiot....
as well as cannons spewing fire and death...
with Galiot cannonballs lying ready....
and Galiot's castle being defended by...you guessed it, Galiot's cannons!

My sources tell me there are more 'odes to Galiot' inside the church, but those will have to wait for another day. The church was locked up tight when I was there. All the more reason to return.  In the meantime, though, I have a few other things from Assier to share with you in upcoming blog posts. 

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